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Thread: New dragon lair !!

  1. #11
    Administrator dragonlover1's Avatar
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    looking good mate,keep it up for an excellent one off enclosure that YOU created and nobody else can say hey that's mine or that looks the same as mine
    slave to all my reptiles

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  3. #12
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    Thanks Dragonlover1,

    ....Update....I bought a bag of mixed cement & sand from Bunnings and got to work coating the foam. The mixture just didn't seem right to me, but according to all the internet sites, it should be a watery consistency to coat the foam. OK, I thought, it's watery and it's kinda coating the foam, but at the back of my mind I just knew this ain't right.

    Beauty....finally coated the foam and now all I had to do was wait for it to dry and attack it with another coat the next day.....but, noooo, it just wasn't as easy as that.

    When I came home from work the next day, eagerly anticipating a masterpiece waiting for me in the garage, I took one look at the foam and I just knew something was dreadfully wrong. Well, yeah, the cement had dried, but it simply came off when I touched it. It looked like I had just dusted some cement/sand mix all over the foam!!

    So back on the internet I go, searching for a solution to my disaster. Did I find it? You betcha I did!! (Well, I think I did. I'll see tomorrow if it works or not) There is a magic ingredient that I discovered that had to be mixed into the water....and that magic ingredient is PVA glue.

    So I hosed off the foam and it pretty much just washed off. So tonight I mixed 'about' 2/3 PVA to 'about' 1/3 water (or roughly a bit more PVA than water) in a small container and used that to mix into the cement/sand mixture. I could see straight away that the mixture was a heck of a lot better than before. It actually stayed on the foam and it was so easy to apply, it was almost like painting it.

    To say I was pleased with myself is an understatement. I'm still bloody smiling!!

    I just hope I'm still smiling tomorrow when I check it out.

    Anyway, here's where I am now:


    1st coat.jpg

    More updates as they happen....probably tomorrow....

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  5. #13
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    Yep...I'm still smiling!! Eagerly ran into the garage this morning to check out my rockwall. Very relieved to say that everything stuck down well to the foam and does not come off when I touch it or even scrape it with my fingernail....awesome. It was still a bit damp in places so I placed the panels in the sun to dry off a bit whilst I mixed another batch of water/pva/sand/cement. This time I added a cement colour I got from Bunnings. I slapped on the second coat of mixture and pleased to say it all went smoothly. It's currently out in the sun, beautiful day here in Melbourne today, to dry out.

    Here's what I have so far:

    2nd coat.jpg

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  7. #14
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    So I slapped on another coat of mixture over the rockwall. Let it dry for a couple of days and decided to put it into my tank "just to see what it looks like"....

    So here it is:
    test 1.jpg test 2.jpg test 3.jpg

    I put in a couple of real rocks to see the colour variations and if it would blend in together. Even though the photos look like the colours are pretty close, in reality, the rockface needs to be lightened quite a bit to match the real rocks. So off to the greatest hardware store in the galaxy I go again...yeah, Bunnings. I'll put on another couple of coats of the lighter colour and call this project 'finished'.

    I was thinking of doing the sides of the tank as well, but decided not to. The way the tank is situated in my lounge room, if I do the sides, I won't be able to see the dragon from where I sit on the sofa....and you know, I'd like to keep an eye on 'im while I'm watching tv

    But then again...I might do the other side that can't be seen from the sofa....

    More updates as they happen.....

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  9. #15
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    I decided to do the side that can't be seen from the sofa. I figured the more foam insulation, the better it is for a glass tank. So I got to work for a few hours in my "lab" and came up with this:

    corner 1.jpg corner 2.jpg

    Just waiting for the glue to dry and tomorrow after work, I'll attack it with a soldering iron and a blowtorch to contour it etc.

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  11. #16
    Senior Member briansworms's Avatar
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    Looks good Professor. Hang out in the Lab often. Thanks for the pic's
    Regards Brian
    www.briansworms.com
    woodies F/Sale

  12. #17
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    Time for another update....I slapped on a few more coats of the magic mix, this time with a lighter colour pigment. It looked really good as it was, then I decided to paint some highlights, colour variations and general 'rock looking things' on a small section....

    Wow, it looked absolutely dreadful. Huge mistake. It was atrocious. Luckily it was only a small piece.

    It was one of those moments when you look at something and try and convince yourself that it looks....well, 'kinda OK'...if you look at it only from this angle, with the light shining from that side, and only from the top.....so no matter how much I tried to convince myself, deep down I knew it looked awful....

    So I slapped on another coat of the magic mix and it solved my dilemma. Easy fix, just time consuming. So when the cement dried, I painted the rear of the rockface pieces black, as I didn't want to see the ugly foam through the glass tank.

    Here's where I am now:

    finished 1.jpg finished 2.jpg


    The pieces are out in the sun drying, so tonight I'll install them into the tank and give you guys another update.

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  14. #18
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    OK...final update. I installed the pieces in the tank and found they didn't fit...they were slightly too large. With all the cement build up, the dimensions were a little out. I did allow for this previously, but obviously not enough. So I tried to 'persuade' them to fit....yeah, you know what happened. A piece cracked....yeah, I know you saw that one coming....

    Anyway, back to the lab again, a quick rebuild, quick recoat of colour cement, and let it dry. So tonight I re-installed the pieces inside the tank, and perfect fit!!

    Here's what it looks like without accessories:

    final 1.jpg

    And with accessories:

    final 2.jpg final 3.jpg final 4.jpg

    Still have to install heat and UV, so position of accessories may be changed to suit.

    I've never made one of these before, but it turned out pretty good. I would have liked some colour variations etc, as mentioned earlier, but I messed that up big time, so as it stands, this is finished.

    cheers

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  16. #19
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    Come up good Nick, well done. You should be happy with that, especially being your first go at it

  17. #20
    Senior Member briansworms's Avatar
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    That looks fantastic. Well done
    Regards Brian
    www.briansworms.com
    woodies F/Sale

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